Sister unable to shake pain of sibling’s horrible death

Chevelle Blake knew her missing twin sister was dead, but nonetheless, she hoped and prayed for answers over a seven-month period.

She never imagined that the only answer she would get was her sister’s unidentifiable skeletal remains, that the family had to bury without her children present.

“Nothing was really identifiable. It’s just the clothes that my grandmother was able to identify, because she practically stayed with her most of the times, so she would wash a few clothes. So, she could identify the pants and the blouse. But aside from that, there was nothing else to really identify,” Chevelle told the Jamaica Observer last Thursday.

“Never in a million years did I imagine or even thought about this. Not for my womb mate. Not for my twin sister.”

Her sister, 26-year-old Chantel Blake-McCalla, is a mother of four who resided in Liguanea Mews, Kingston, and was last seen on Thursday, January 6 in Old Harbour, St Catherine about 11:00 am.

That morning, Chevelle said she felt “uneasy” and “out of it” but couldn’t understand why.

On Sunday, May 15, skeletal remains were recovered in bushes at Joe Ground district in Bois Content, Old Harbour, St Catherine. One blue plastic tarpaulin, two pieces of rope, one wig, a blouse and a pair of jeans were also there.

Two months later, Cleon March, acting assistant commissioner of police in charge of crime, revealed that DNA results confirmed that the remains were those of Blake-McCalla, an accountant and teacher.

Chevelle told the Sunday Observer that she got the news from her father when she was at work.

“I remember I was at work when my father called. It was a Friday and I was all over the place. I started crying and at one point I was wondering if it was real. I wanted to see my grandmother so much because I know she would be taking it very hard. I remember it as if it was just yesterday, trust me,” she related.

Chevelle said it felt like asking for closure, and not knowing how to receive it when the time came.

“It’s like a day that you’re hoping for, because it gives you some form of closure, but then again, you’re asking if this is how it is,” she said.

“I was not surprised, but at the end of the day, I was still hurt, because I knew that from January 5 that she was dead; I knew that she was not going to come back, because there was no way she was going to leave her kids. So, getting that confirmation was like reality hit. Though you know it, though you believe it, when there is really proof and there is no way around it, it’s a reality check,” Chevelle continued.

Police held a meeting with family members Sunday, July 31, and they were updated on the progress of the investigation.

According to police reports, Blake-McCalla’s husband, Shane McCalla, reported that on the day she went missing, he left her at the Old Toll exit in Belmont Park, Old Harbour, St Catherine, for someone to pick her up and take her to Kingston to make a report at the Fraud Squad.

They said he reported her missing at Matilda’s Corner Police Station in St Andrew about 9:00 pm that same night.

Police also revealed that McCalla had left the island with the children, had not been communicating with the police, and had not made the children available to the police for them to be interviewed. It is believed that the four children were taken to Canada.

Chevelle, who had a good relationship with her sister’s four children, said she hasn’t heard from them since the day after her sister was reported missing.

“Funny enough, my grandmother and I were just talking about them. From I saw those kids on January 7, I haven’t seen them again. I haven’t heard anything,” Chevelle told the Sunday Observer.

“They are very smart children and they know a lot. As I said to my grandmother just now, I know that they are fine because God is watching over them. And they are growing, so they will reach out. Everyday I check my social media to see if I get any inbox or any like from anybody with a similar name or a similar profile, just to see if any of them are trying to reach out because I know they are smart children.”

Blake-McCalla’s memorial was held on Saturday, October 29 at the Mount Merrick Baptist Church in Ginger Ridge District. Chevelle told the Sunday Observer that she thought the service would’ve offered some level of finality and closure, but instead, it has left her more wounded.

“To be honest, before the memorial service and everything, I thought having the service would have made much better, but I literally went to the hospital right after the service. And I find myself thinking about it even more now. So, really and truly, it really hasn’t helped,” she said.

“Most of this stems from not having the kids, not seeing them, not knowing for real if they are okay, and knowing that the person responsible is walking up and down scot free. It really hasn’t made things better,” she added.

Chevelle said the family would’ve been at peace if they believe they were availed a thorough and thoughtful investigation.

“If we had gotten a fair investigation and nothing came of it, then we would just have to live with it. But it is clear as day and everyone is just sitting down folding their hands. You know that there is so much more that could be done, but you in yourself cannot do it. It’s very painful and very difficult to live with, knowing that you can’t do anything about it. It’s really painful. It is for the fittest of the fittest,” she said, noting that the last update she got from the police was via text message.

“I remember getting a text message stating that it’s been a long while and they haven’t been communicating, but they are still on the case, still working on it, they just don’t really have any updates. That is just what we have been getting.”

Back in January — 11 days after her sister was reported missing — Chevelle had expressed similar concerns to the Jamaica Observer.

“This is bigger than the police. They are not relating anything to the family. I cannot just sit down and wait on the police. It’s been over a week and we haven’t heard anything comforting. Nothing at all. So, we need to reach out to the world at large because there must be somebody that knows something, somebody that can say something, somebody that can be of assistance. There is a reward of $250,000 for anyone that has any information leading to her safe return,” she said at the time.

A scroll through Chevelle’s Facebook account shows her relentless quest for justice.

January 8 — “You have no idea how I am feeling right now. Please guys, if seen or heard of, please call the nearest police,” she wrote in a post.

January 9 — “This is getting scarier by the minute. It’s heartbreaking, it’s terrifying. But with God, all things are possible.”

January 10 — “I had to take it to this platform because it is getting unbearable and it is getting more suspicious as the seconds go by. I’m trying my absolute best to cooperate. Wait, at this point, is somewhat not a word in my vocabulary because I cannot just sit down and wait,” she said during a live stream.

January 13 — “I want to go and look for you, I don’t know the first place to look. My heart is broken into a million pieces.”

January 14 — Chevelle shared her sister’s missing person’s flyer with a $250,000 reward.

January 23 — Chevelle shared the same missing person’s flyer with caption, “Please please please please share.”

July 6 — “It has been six months since you went missing and up until now, nothing. I have never dreamt in a million years that a day like this would come. On the 6th of January, I never thought this would be a prolonging issue for six months and counting. Chan, I know I will never get the chance to see you again in this lifetime, because I know what happened took place that same day when I was so out of it, not knowing how to explain my feeling.”

July 22 — “After 26 years of life, I have learnt that your status and who you know determines the kind of justice you get in this country.

July 30 — “Goodnight everyone. The family of Chantal Blake is planning a protest tomorrow at the CIB in HWT By this time, you would have gotten the news that the remains that were found on the 15th of May is that of Chantel Blake.”

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